Monday, March 31, 2014

Blog Tour Monday

Is it still Monday?

:checks clock and calendar:

Yup, still Monday. Phew! I didn't blow my deadline.

The lovely and insanely hard-working writer and editor, RJ Blain tagged me in the Blog Tour Monday meme last week, so I'm here to fulfill my part of the bargain.

Many, many authors are participating in the relay blog hop, one writer passing the baton to another all across the internet. It's been an interesting opportunity to read about so many different writing processes and there are as many different ones as there are writers.

What am I working on?

Now is a busy time for me. I just published my second YA novel, FUTURE TENSE, and I've been networking with book bloggers, reviewers, libraries, and high schools to get the word out.

I'm also working on completing the sequel to my first YA novel, THE BETWEEN, working title TIME AND TITHE. Let me tell you, writing sequels is *hard*. When you start from scratch, you don't have to worry about continuity, style-matching, or loose plot threads from a book you'd written more than 4 years ago.  I'm at the point in the narrative - at about the 3/4 mark - where all the storylines from all the points of view need to pull together into a cohesive and satisfying whole. I'll get there, but the writing is a lot slower than my typical workflow.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

So many of the YA books on the shelves, regardless of the genre, center around a primary love triangle, where an impossibly beautiful girl must chose between two impossible sexy suitors. I don't know about your High School experience, but nothing like that happened to me or any of my friends. Typically, if we had someone we had fallen for, that someone didn't know we were alive and was madly in love with someone else. No triangles; if anything, a meandering line.

What I don't see in genre YA books (I read and write mostly fantasy and SF) is the power of friendship and of family, and the pull between them. The stories I write are stories of characters who need to learn to make difficult decisions and trust in their own strength in a world that is not quite our own.

Why do I write what I do?

What can I say? I read, and 'imprinted' on Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" at a young and impressionable age.

How does my writing process work?

My ideas start with a single image. Usually of a character, in a situation , with a problem. This is what I think of as the writer's version of the game 'clue.' (Remember Colonial Mustard in the library with a candlestick?)

Once I have the core of the idea, I brainstorm, setting the idea in a larger context, a larger world, and with a larger cast of characters. I usually have the broad strokes of a plot before I start, including the basic ending, but I don't do a formal or detailed outline before I start writing.  I almost always outline when I'm midway through the story as a way of mapping out where I've been and where I'm going.

I am a tortoise, rather than a hare writer. That is, I work at a slow and steady pace when I'm drafting a novel. 1,000 words a day/5,000 words a week is my goal.

I don't need any special set of circumstances to write. Sometimes I use music - movie and videogame soundtracks are a favorite of mine, sometimes silence. I write in a simple word processor, but have also used a wiki for research information, and a more structured program called yWriter to split the story into scenes/chapters. Sometimes I go old school with cheap staples brand single subject spiral notebooks.

While I can edit one project while writing another, I find it difficult to draft more than one story at a time.

Nominations for the next Blog Tour Monday

Next Monday, please enjoy my friend, and fellow writer, Julianne Douglas's blogpost as she talks about her work and her writing process. Julianne is a member of my writing support and critique group and she writes historical fiction, set in sixteenth century France!

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